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ISBN 0-939165-42-2
200 pages
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click to order Protect Your Pet: More shocking facts
Protect Your Pet: More Shocking Facts
By Ann N. Martin

Ann Martin continues her thorough investigation of pet-related issues, revealing more shocking facts. Carefully and methodically, Martin explains the ongoing problems with most commercial pet foods. She also carefully examines the controversial raw meat diets, and questions the practice of yearly vaccinations, making a convincing link between increased cancer in pets and over vaccination. Protect Your Pet includes healthy recipes, alternative choices, and solid advice.


Ann Martin with Jake


  • Chapter One
    Digging for Facts
  • Chapter Two
    Rendering Plants and Pet Food
  • Chapter Three
    Pet Food: A Toxic Feast
  • Chapter Four
    Pet Food Regulations
  • Chapter Five
    The Latest on Mad Cow Disease and Pet Food
  • Chapter Six
    The Controversial Raw Meat Diet
  • Chapter Seven
    Over-Vaccination and Disease
  • Chapter Eight
    Cancer in Animals
  • Chapter Nine
    Other Health Concerns
  • Chapter Ten
    The Ultimate Health Risk: Cruelty
  • Chapter Eleven
    Healthy Recipes


Praise for Protect Your Pet

The pet food industry and its allies dictate thinking for pet owners and veterinarians on feeding pets. Protect Your Pet discusses important problems the industry refuses to address. It also documents truths on other issues that veterinarians choose to ignore. This book is an essential resource that all pet owners should read.

--Donald R. Strombeck, DVM, PhD, Professor Emeritus, UC Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine

This informative book offers excellent information that will help the pet owner to determine which diets are most beneficial. Good health can only be accomplished through good nutrition.

--Wendell Belfield, DVM
Author, How to Have a Healthier Dog

Ann Martin has done it again. She has blown the lid off the pet food industry. Armed with little more than a computer, a telephone, and the stubborn tenacity of a federal prosecutor, Martin has uncovered one of the food industry’s “Most Censored” stories--animal cannibalism in pet food. With this book, Ann N. Martin joins the ranks of a select group of citizen sleuths that includes Ida Tarbell, Lois Gibbs and Erin Brockovich.

--Gar Smith, Editor, Earth Island Journal

After reading Ann Martin’s books, most animal lovers will stop feeding commercial dog and cat foods. The Truth is hard to hear but will save many people’s pets from a short life span, cancer, degenerative diseases and expensive vet bills.
--Ihor Basko, DVM
All Creatures Great & Small Veterinary Services, HawaiiIn Food Pets Die For, which has sold more than 20,000 copies, Ann N. Martin centsured the pet food industry with meticulous evidence of contaminants in commercial fodd that can cause degenrative diseases and even death…. Thoug it may provoke disgust and outrage, pet owners who want the best for their cats and dogs should read this book.

--Publishers Weekly

Today’s concerned pet owners worry about the contents of their companion animals’ food; wonder whether they should provide homecooked meals or raw meat instead of commercial pet food; agonize about annual vaccinations, which some believe are the cause of an increased incidence of cancer in dogs and cats; and weight the reisks and benefits of giving certain drugs to their pets….Martin provides a commonsense aprroach…and her recommendations are based on solid research and are carefully footnoted.

--Florence Scarinci
Library Journal


Ann N. Martin is internationally recognized as an authority on the commercial pet food controversy. For the past twenty years, Ms. Martin has investigated and questioned exactly what goes into commercial pet foods. Her book, Food Pets Die For: Shocking Facts About Pet Food, now in its Third Edition, was the first book to expose the hazards of commercial pet food. Ms. Martin’s investigative reporting on this topic was selected for special recognition as “one of the most censored news stories of 1997” by Sonoma State University’s Project Censored, which focuses on important news events that are largely ignored by mainstream media.

In her second book, Ms. Martin continues her investigation of pet-related issues, in addition to other controversial topics, revealing more shocking facts. Ms. Martin graduated with a B.A. in business from the University of Western Ontario, and worked in a tax office for several years. She lives in Ontario, Canada, with her animal companions, where she continues to question, research, and write about pet-related issues.
Email Ann at

Book Excerpts from Protect Your Pet by Ann N. Martin
All material copyrighted by Ann N. Martin and NewSage Press, 2001


Pet Food Regulations

(Partial Excerpt from Chapter Four)

Like millions of pet owners, I was under the impression that the pet food industry was regulated to the extent that human foods are regulated. I assumed that government agencies oversaw the ingredients that go into the food we feed our companion animals. According to a document put out by Purina, “Pet foods are among the most highly regulated products on the market.”(1) As much as I want to believe this statement, my research finds otherwise.

If we are to believe what we read, the pet food industry in the United States is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA); the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act; and the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act. In addition, voluntary regulations for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and state regulations are established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Impressive as all of this sounds, none of these agencies actually regulate what ingredients are contained in rendering products sold to commercial pet food companies for use in pet food.

The FDA and AAFCO are supposed to be the driving forces in the regulations on pet food. According to Linda Grassie, spokesperson for the Food and Drug Administration, Center for Veterinary Medicine (FDA / CVM,) the position of the agency is to “establish standards for all animal feeds; proper identification of the product as a pet food: net quality statement (weight, volume, or count); name and place of business of the manufacturer; packer or distributor; and proper listing of all ingredients in descending order of predominance by weight and identification by their common or usual names.” (2)

However, the FDA does not test nor investigate as to what are the contents of the products from rendering plants nor the quality of the ingredients. In brief, I found no laws that state diseased cattle and companion animals cannot be rendered and used for pet foods. In the case of companion animals, no government agencies oversee the numbers of carcasses sent to rendering plants and no records are kept. All the states that responded to my inquiries agree that there are no regulations that prohibit the rendering of any animal, including dogs and cats.

In this chapter I explain how these various agencies are involved in the regulation of pet food. As you will see, shockingly, there are very few regulations for protecting our pets from unhealthy or harmful material that can be legally rendered into products sold for manufacturing pet food.


The Food and Drug Administration, Center for Veterinary Medicine

The primary duties of the FDA / CVM are to focus on health claims made by the pet food companies, especially if they are labeled for the prevention or treatment of a disease. The FDA / CVM confirms that research supports these companies’ claims. For example, the FDA / CVM investigated pet food companies that claimed their cat foods “will prevent Feline Urological Syndrome (FUS).” When it could not be proven that the cat food actually prevented FUS, the FDA required the pet food companies to remove this claim from their packaging. The FDA / CVM had given the pet food manufacturers ample time to change their labels. When some did not comply, the FDA and state officials seized hundreds of tons of cat food. One company, whose products were seized, assured the FDA that the product would no longer be labeled for the prevention of FUS and sold in the United States. However, U.S. pet food companies can take this same pet food with the same false claim and continue to sell it in countries without legislation-Canada, for one.

The FDA / CVM’s duties also include the labeling of products: proper identification of the product, net quantity statement, manufacturer’s address, and proper listing of ingredients. When there are health risks from an ingredient or additive in a pet food, the FDA asks for “scientific evidence” that shows that this is the case. It can then prohibit the use of a questionable ingredient or require the manufacturers to modify an ingredient’s use. Most of the input that the FDA / CVM has when it comes to dog and cat food is product labeling.

One preservative, ethoxyquin, came under question by this agency a number of years ago. Ethoxyquin, a preservative used in a number of pet foods, is a concern to many pet owners. Ethoxyquin can be put into the mix by a feed grain mill, a rendering plant, or by a pet food company. Developed in the 1950s by Monsanto, ethoxyquin was first used as a stabilizer and has also been effective as an insecticide and pesticide. According to literature provided by the FDA / CVM, only when a pet food company uses ethoxyquin does this preservative have to be listed on the label. The suppliers of the raw material, feed grain mills and rendering plants can add ethoxyquin but this will not be listed as an ingredient on the label because they are only the suppliers not the producers of the finished pet food product.

A few years ago, the FDA / CVM began receiving reports from dog owners attributing a myriad of adverse effects to the presence of ethoxyquin in dog food. A FDA / CVM Consumer booklet states, “The reported effects include allergic reactions, skin problems, major organ failure, behavior problems and cancer. However, there is little available scientific data to support these contentions, or to show other adverse effects in dogs at levels approved for use in dog foods. As such, there is no scientific basis to warrant change in the regulatory status of ethoxyquin at this time.” (4) The FDA / CVM, requires scientific data to investigate most health concerns in pets.

The United Animal Owners Association, and in particular, consumer Carol Barfield, protested the use of ethoxyquin in pet food. Because of the allegations made by breeders concerned about foods containing ethoxyquin, Monsanto commissioned an accredited, independent laboratory to conduct a three-year study on its product. In 1996, the results of this study were disclosed.

The study, a feeding trial, was conducted on Beagles (the breed of choice for testers). One group was fed food that contained 180 to 360 parts per million (ppm) of ethoxyquin. According to Petfood Industry magazine in the May/June 1996 edition: “Consistent with previous work, the researchers noted liver pigmentation changes and elevated liver enzymes that depended on the dosage of ethoxyquin. The minimal liver pigmentation that occurred at 180 ppm, in females, was not considered clinically significant because there were no liver enzyme changes or associated pathological changes in the liver or other organs. In addition the dogs’ overall health was not affected.” (5)

As a result of consumer complaints, and the results of the independent study, in 1997 the FDA requested that levels of ethoxyquin be reduced in dog food. “FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) requested that the maximum level for ethoxyquin in complete dog foods be voluntarily lowered to 75 parts per million (ppm). Under the current food additive regulations, ethoxyquin is allowed at levels up to 150 ppm in complete dog foods.”(6)

Unfortunately, ethoxyquin was not completely eliminated from commercial pet foods, just lowered. The FDA advised that if further information became available on the safety of ethoxyquin at 75 ppm in dog food, or shows it to be an effective antioxidant at levels below 75 ppm, the CVM will consider further action.

The second case that the FDA / CVM describes in its literature concerns propylene glycol, a humectant that has been used in semi-moist pet food for about fifteen years. Propylene glycol is a second cousin to antifreeze. Propylene glycol has been proven to be a major contributor in feline cardiac disease according to research accepted by the FDA. The FDA publication, “Understanding Pet Food Labels,” states: “It [propylene glycol] was known to cause overt anemia or other clinical effects. However, recent reports of scientifically sound studies show that propylene glycol reduces red blood cell survival time, renders red blood cells more susceptible to oxidative damage, and has other adverse effects in cats consuming the substance at levels found in semi-moist food.” (7)

As of January 2001, the FDA / CVM prohibits the use of propylene glycol in semi-moist cat food. Propylene glycol was in semi-moist cat food for approximately fifteen years. How many cats have suffered and died from ingesting this substance? How many thousands, if not millions, of dollars have been spent on veterinary bills to treat the illnesses caused by propylene glycol?

Chapter Four goes one to discuss The Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, The Association of American Feed Control Officials, The Federal Trade Commission, The United States Department of Agriculture, The Pet Food Institute, Canadian Regulations, The United Kingdom, Vague Pet Food Labels, and Consumer Recourse.


Over-Vaccination and Animals

(Partial excerpt from Chapter Seven)

Currently, most veterinarians advise annual vaccinations for millions of animal companions for a variety of diseases. Traditionally, veterinarians advised that yearly vaccinations are the only preventative method for life-threatening diseases. However, some veterinarians now question the need for annual vaccinations...

Some major veterinary colleges such as Colorado State University, along with a growing number of veterinarians in private practice, now question if the risks of yearly vaccinations might outweigh the risks of animals contracting some of these diseases. Titer testing, described below, gives a pet owner a good indication how often an animal companion should be vaccinated. Even the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) cautions against excessive vaccinations. In August 1999, the AAHA released its opinion paper regarding vaccinations. The AAHA President, Michael Paul, DVM, wrote, “The intent of the opinion paper is to encourage veterinarians to consider vaccination procedures as medical decisions and not automatic actions prompted by a calendar.”(4)

Although some veterinary colleges and veterinarians are stating publicly that pets are immune to these diseases for one, two, three years, and even longer after the initial vaccinations, it is still common practice in the United States and Canada for veterinarians to recommend yearly vaccinations. The necessity of frequent vaccinations is now being called into question.

Jean Dodds, DVM, a veterinarian in private practice in Santa Monica, California and one of the foremost experts in pet vaccinations, believes that vaccinations with single or combination modified live virus are increasingly recognized contributors to immune-mediated blood diseases, bone marrow failure, and organ dysfunction. Dr. Dodds also lists leukemia, thyroid disease, Addison’s disease, diabetes and lymphoma as diseases that can be triggered by vaccines. “Combining viral antigens, especially those of modified live virus (MLV) type, which multiply in the host, elicits a stronger antigenic challenge to the animal,” explains Dr. Dodds in an article on the immune system. “This is often viewed as desirable because a more potent immunogen presumably mounts a more effective and sustained immune response. However, it can also overwhelm the immuno compromised or even a healthy host that is continually bombarded with other environmental stimuli and has a genetic predisposition that promotes adverse response to viral challenge.” (5)

In October 2000, the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association published a study that was undertaken by Dodds and Lisa Twark, DVM. The purpose of the study was to assess whether serum canine parvovirus (CPV) and canine distemper virus (CDV) antibody titers, (titer tests are discussed later in this chapter) could determine revaccination protocols in healthy dogs. For this study, 1,441 dogs were used ranging in age from six weeks to seventeen years.

The interval between the last vaccination and the antibody measurement using a titer test was from one to two years for the majority of dogs, 60 percent, and two to seven years for 30.3 percent, and one year for 9.6 percent of the dogs used in the study. The conclusion arrived at by Drs. Twark and Dodds: “The high prevalence of adequate antibody responses (CPV 95.1%; CDV 97.6%) in this large population of dogs suggests that annual revaccination against CPV and CDV may not be necessary. (6)

All packages of vaccinations carry warnings that they should be injected only in healthy animals. In the case of cats, vaccine manufacturers advise against vaccinating pregnant or nursing cats. However, many pets are not healthy when vaccinated although they might not have outward signs of health problems. Charles Loops, DVM, a holistic veterinarian from Pittsboro, North Carolina, notes that “chemically killed viruses or bacteria are injected directly into the blood stream, which is an unnatural route of infection.” (7) This causes the animal’s antibodies to attempt to fight off the offending virus molecules and render them harmless. If the animal’s immune system is too weakened, he or she cannot fight off these viruses and can develop a reaction to the vaccine. Even small amounts of a virus that is introduced through a vaccination may be too much for sick animals to fight off. They then may fall ill from the very disease to which they have been vaccinated.

If you have concerns about vaccinating your pet, Michael Lemmon, DVM, suggests the following: “First, don’t vaccinate your dog or cat when he is showing any signs of illness. If your pet is already ill, his immune system may not be able to produce antibodies the vaccination is supposed to stimulate; and he stands a chance of being overwhelmed by the small amount of virus in the vaccine, and succumbing to the illness he’s being vaccinated against.” (8)

Some veterinarians believe that vaccines are outright damaging to our pets. Dr. Loops writes in an article, “Veterinarians and animal guardians have to come to realize that they are not protecting animals from disease by annual vaccinations, but in fact, are destroying the health and immune system of these same animals they love and care for.” (9) In the same article, Christina Chambreau, DVM, Founder and Chairperson of the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy, expresses similar views: “Routine vaccinations are probably the worst thing that we do for our animals. They cause all types of illnesses but not directly to where we would relate them definitely to be caused by the vaccine.”(10)


Cats and Vaccinations

In the early 1990s the vaccination of cats was beginning to draw concern from cat owners as well as from veterinarians who noted that cats were developing tumors within weeks and months of being vaccinated. DVM Magazine ran an interesting article on the possible connection between vaccinations and feline sarcomas. “In 1998, Mattie J. Hendrick, DVM, a pathologist with the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, began to notice something odd,” writes Lynn Brakeman, senior editor of DVM Magazine,out of the thousands of biopsies she was analyzing each week, a surprising number of cats (and cats only) were showing the same kind of inflammatory lesion at vaccine sites. By 1990, she and her colleagues had diagnosed a surprising number of fibrosarcomas in the dorsal portion of the neck and interscapular regions of cats.” (11) But the question still remained as to what was causing the sarcomas to develop in cats receiving these vaccinations and how many cats were actually succumbing to fibrosarcomas?

In November 1996 a ten-member task force assembled to address the issue of sarcoma formation at injection sites of the commonly used feline vaccines. The task force included members of the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), American Veterinary Medical Assocation (AVMA), and Veterinary Cancer Society (VCS). The AVMA states: “The objectives of the task force were to define the true scope and incidence of the problem, determine the casual and prognostic factors of the syndrome, and develop an interim plan to educate and inform veterinarians and the public.” (12) Veterinarians were to be updated on research findings and on new vaccines that were licensed.

In 1998 the task force made its initial vaccine site recommendations. “In short, the task force recommends that vaccines containing rabies antigens be given as distally as possible in the right rear limb, vaccines containing feline leukemia virus antigen (unless containing rabies antigen as well) be given as distally as possible in the left rear limb, and vaccines containing any other antigens except rabies or feline leukemia virus be given on the right shoulder.”(13)

Cats often develop small lumps at vaccination sites but these bumps usually disappear within one or two weeks. Theresa A. Fuess, PhD, an Information Specialist at the University of Illinois, College of Veterinary Medicine, wrote a paper on the cancer risks in cats published by the University of Illinois. “The shortest time for cancer to develop is three months, but it can take as long as three and a half years,” explained Dr. Fuess. “If your cat develops a lump that persists more than a month and a half it should be evaluated by a specialists right away. Removal of a lump at six weeks is minor surgery; at three months it is major surgery.” (14)

A friend of mine who has owned Siamese cats for many years and who has had them vaccinated annually, was horrified to find that one of her cats had developed a lump at the site of the injection for FeLV within a few weeks of the vaccination. She did not delay in getting her cat to the vet where the lump was removed before it had a chance to spread. If your cat does develop a lump at the site of the injection, don’t delay in seeing your vet. Surgical removal with wide margins is crucial since this type of tumor can spread quickly.

In a presentation to the American Veterinary Medical Association in 1998, Guillermo Couto, DVM and Dennis W. Macy, DVM, MS presented data to the American Veterinary Medical Association on the number of cats who may be affected with the vaccine-related sarcomas. In their paper, “Vaccine Associated Feline Sarcoma Task Force,” the veterinarians state, “The prevalence of soft tissue sarcomas after vaccination varies between 1 and 1,000 and 1 in 10,000 cats. If this prevalence is to be applied to the 1991 cat population of the United States, a total of 22,000 vaccine-induced tumors developed in 1991.” (15)

Another theory that has developed in the last few years is the use of vaccines containing aluminum-based adjuvants. An adjuvant is a substance that is used to facilitate immune stimulation with a killed virus. This material holds the virus in the area of the vaccination for a couple of weeks so it can be released slowly, allowing immune stimulation to take place over a period of time.

According to Wendy C. Brooks, DVM, DABVP (Diplomate, American Board of Veterinary Practitioners,) “Recently, fibrosarcomas have been removed from areas of the body typically used for vaccination and, to the surprise of the veterinary profession, particules of aluminum-based vaccine ingredients (called ’adjuvants’) were discovered within the tumor.” (16)

Aluminum-based adjuvants have been known to induce vaccine site inflammation but the role they might play in causing fibrosarcomas is still unknown.


Feline Leukemia Virus in Cats

It was first thought that these fibrosarcomas were related to the rabies vaccination, which became mandatory for cats in 1987. However, Katherine James, DVM, reports, “In 1993 researchers from the University of California Davis showed that feline leukemia vaccines were more likely to cause sarcomas than were rabies vaccines.”(17)

This is frightening news for many cat owners who religiously have their cats vaccinated every year for feline leukemia. In his book, The Nature of Animal Healing, Martin Goldstein, DVM, describes cats in his veterinary practice who have been vaccinated. “I began seeing cats with immuno-suppression diseases whose medical histories bore a depressing similarity: many had been given the leukemia vaccine in the recent past.” (18) Dr. Goldstein also observed increasing numbers of young cats with stomach and kidney cancers. Before veterinarians began using FeLV, he rarely saw any cases like this.

Dr. Goldstein is also suspicious of the sharply higher incidents of feline peritonitis in cats three or four weeks after they had been given an FeLV vaccination, something he had not seen prior to the spring of 1985 when this vaccine became available. In The Nature of Animal Healing, Dr. Goldstein refers to recent cases that Dr. Jean Dodds studied that suggest the FeLV vaccine occasionally provokes another feline disease, infectious peritonitis “by compromising a cat’s immune system and thus rendering her more susceptible to it.”(19) Infectious peritonitis causes fluid to accumulate in the abdomen and/or chest. Other symptoms of infectious peritonitis include signs of kidney and liver failure, anemia, weight loss, and vomiting and diarrhea, which can make it difficult for the veterinarian to diagnose feline peritonitis. Infectious peritonitis has a high fatality rate.

Feline leukemia virus can be latent in carrier cats without any signs or symptoms for many years. Susan Little, DVM, ABVP, is part owner of two feline specialty practices in Ottawa, Canada. She also works with a group of volunteers on a trap/test/vaccinate/ release program for feral cats in the Ottawa area. In 1998, Dr. Little posted a number of articles relating to cats on her website (See Resources) including the article “Feline Leukemia Virus.” In this article, Dr. Little explains “The prevalence of FeLV in single cat households is about 3 percent and can be as high as 11 percent in stray cat populations. In large, multi-cat households where cats roam freely outdoors, the prevalence can reach as high as 70 percent. Cats roaming in urban areas are more likely to be exposed to FeLV (40%) than cats roaming in rural areas (6%).” (20)

Dr. Little describes the possible outcomes for cats exposed to the FeLV virus: “In about 30% of cats, an effective immune response is produced and the infection is resisted. In about 40% of cats, the virus is successful and the cat eventually becomes persistently infected and excreting virus in its saliva. Another 30% of cats do not produce immunity but also do not become persistently infected immediately. In these cats, the virus hides in the bone marrow for up to 30 months.” (21) Dr. Little points out that cats whose feline virus hides in sites such as the bone marrow rarely become contagious and they are unlikely to develop the disease.

When you take your cat in for the FeLV vaccination, the vet will first take a blood test to ascertain if the cat is harboring this infection. A blood test is the only way to determine if in fact your cat is suffering from FeLV infection. If your cat tests positive for the virus, it is not necessary to vaccinate for feline leukemia because your cat already has the virus. In addition, if your cat tests positive, and there are other cats in the household, it is advised that you have all your cats tested, even though they may have been vaccinated (there is no 100 percent guarantee with any vaccine), to be sure that they are free of the disease. Regarding the FeLV vaccine, Dr. Jean Dodds stated in a personal correspondence, “This vaccine [FeLV] has relatively poor clinical efficacy. It is about 40 percent although manufacturers cite up to an 80 percent efficacy.”

There is no cure acknowledged by mainstream veterinary medicine for feline leukemia. There are however some alternative health practitioners who claim anecdotal success with feline leukemia. Remember that some blood tests will show a “false negative,” which means a cat may have feline leukemia even though the test shows that he doesn’t. A false negative can occur if a cat is in the early stages of the disease; if the virus is sequestered in the marrow or organs, such as the liver and spleen; or if a cat is terminal because of the disease. This is not very common but it does occur, especially in young kittens.

If a cat or kitten has recently been exposed to the feline virus, the antibodies may not have had enough time for a response to appear on the test thus producing a false negative. If it is known that a kitten has been exposed to this virus a second test two weeks after the first is usually recommended. I asked Susan Little, DVM, why this test would show a false negative in a cat who was in the terminal stages of this illness. Dr. Little replied, “Because the virus can segregate itself in body organs (especially bone marrow) where it is not easily detected by a routine blood test, it is possible to have feline leukemia virus infection and test negative on a blood test.” (22)

Cats who have access to the outdoors should be vaccinated for FeLV since their chances of contracting the virus increase substantially. Dr. Little advises yearly vaccinations for outdoor cats. An alternative to yearly vaccinations for FeLV are nosodes, a homeopathic oral alternative to vaccination for various diseases. Although there have been no scientific studies undertaken, it has been shown that nosodes may prevent animals and people from falling ill with the problem in question. In the case of FeLV, cats who have been given nosodes have not shown any signs of the disease. (Nosodes are discussed at greater length later in this chapter.)


Dogs and Vaccinations

In Great Britain, Catherine O’Driscoll, an author and the publisher of Abbeywood Publishing, challenges the wisdom of annual vaccinations for pets, and in particular dogs. After several years of ongoing research, and first-hand experience with her dogs’ fatal reactions to vaccinations, O’Driscoll is an outspoken opponent to traditional vaccinations. She believes that the use of nosodes is a much safer alternative to vaccinations.

O’Driscoll and her husband, John Watt, have been owned by Golden Retrievers for many years. In the mid-1990s, two of their young Golden Retrievers got sick shortly after they had been vaccinated, and eventually died. Oliver, who was four years old, had been vaccinated in the hip and died less than three months later from sudden rear-end paralysis, an unexplained medical problem.

A year later his sister, Prudence, died of leukemia. Prudence had also been vaccinated but discovery of the leukemia was outside of the three-month time frame of the vaccination. O’Driscoll believes the leukemia had been developing for a long time prior to diagnosis. “After Oliver died, I spent two years asking every vet I metwhy? No one could answer me,” explained O’Driscoll in an interview. “Veterinarians just kept hemming and hawing. Then we took another one of our dogs to see Christopher Day, one of the U.K.’s top homeopathic veterinarians. Once again I explained what had happened with Oliver and asked Dr. Day what he thought might have caused it. He explained that he often sees animals becoming sick or dying within three months of their vaccine shot, and rear-end paralysis was a common post-vaccination problem.” Dr. Day also noted that when the start date of an illness is known, 80 percent of the dogs he sees in his veterinarian practice first become ill within three months of a vaccine. (23)

After Oliver’s death, O’Driscoll spent two years writing a book on golden retrievers, focusing primarily on their personalities and temperament. She interviewed owners of golden retrievers worldwide. In the course of her research, an individual sent Catherine an article written by Jean Dodds, DVM, who addresses the problem of immune-blood mediated diseases, including leukemia being on the rise in dogs since the introduction of live virus vaccines. O’Driscoll and her husband, John Watt, were alarmed by this connection. Watt, who has a masters degree in systems analysis and operational research as well as considerable statistical and research experience, thought it would be beneficial to do some independent research related to illnesses in dogs and vaccinations. So began the Canine Health Census in October 1996.

The Canine Health Census included a team of veterinarians, Dr. Jean Dodds from the United States, Dr. Christopher Day from the United Kingdom, and Australian veterinarians Tom Lonsdale and Ian Billinghurst, along with Viera Scheibner, an Australian research scientist with a PhD in natural sciences. The goal of the Canine Health Census was to understand a number of health-related issues for dogs and to gather information directly from dog owners.

Drs. Jean Dodds and Christopher Day helped draft a survey to be distributed to as many dog owners as the Canine Health Census could reach in the United Kingdom. The Canine Health Census took out paid ads in dog magazines requesting participation in the survey, and individuals distributed the questionnaires to dog owners, sometimes walking door-to-door through neighborhoods. The survey was also posted on the Canine Health Census website and mailed to pet owners worldwide. The survey was twenty-six pages long, and it was divided into several areas of concern, such as diet, vaccinations, environment, pollution, chemicals, and drugs. Pet owners could fill out the entire survey or only certain areas of the survey if they desired. (24)

The vaccine portion of the questionnaire had more than twenty general questions about an individual dog’s situation and health, such as the age of the dog, when the dog was adopted, number of dogs in the household, and the dog’s diet. Questions also covered topics such as when the dog was first vaccinated, and after that, was the dog vaccinated annually. Some of the questions related to the type of vaccine used: killed, live, or mixture. In addition to general questions, there was a “Time Frame” segment in the survey that asked an additional thirty questions that related to various ailments such as allergies, cancer, distemper, leukemia, liver damage, and when the dog may have developed these ailments in relation to the vaccinations.

The response to the Canine Health Census Survey was substantial. Over the first four-month period they received information on 2,700 dogs. The data gathered from this “Interim Report” showed a strong correlation between vaccinations and the onset of disease. According to O’Driscoll, “The survey showed that 68.2% of dogs in the survey with parvovirus contracted parvovirus within three months of being vaccinated. Similarly 55.6% of dogs with distemper contracted it within three months of vaccination; 63.6% contracted hepatitis within three months of vaccination; 50% contracted parainfluenza within three months of vaccination and every single dog with leptospirosis contracted it within that three-month time frame.” (25)

As of December 2000, two sets of results have been collected. According to O’Driscoll, “The second survey confirms the results of the first but the picture of vaccine damage looks even bleaker.” The Canine Health Census survey is ongoing and can be accessed through the website or you can request that a copy of the survey be mailed. (See Resources.)

As a result of the findings by the Canine Health Census, and inspired by the loss of her own animal companions due to over-vaccination, O’Driscoll wrote a fascinating book on her findings, Who Killed the Darling Buds of May: Vaccines. In her book O’Driscoll reports the results of the first survey. In August 1998, a new edition of the book was published to include the results of the second survey. In her book, What Vets Don’t Tell You About Vaccines, O’Driscoll covers many aspects of vaccinations for animal companions as well as information on human vaccinations. For animals, the topics include vaccines that are mixed with deadly poisons; vaccines that shed into the environment thereby spreading disease; vaccines that can cause the diseases they are designed to prevent; and vaccines that disarm and impair the immune system.

What Vets Don’t Tell You About Vaccines was the topic of a television documentary in the United Kingdom in 1998. Granada television “World In Action” aired the documentary, “Fatal Affection,” which featured O’Driscoll’s book and the findings of the Canine Health Census. As a result of this documentary and public exposure to the problems with vaccinations, The Veterinary Medicine’s Directorate in Great Britain requested copies of the Canine Health Census research data. Whether or not this will change the present practice of annual vaccinations for cats and dogs in the United Kingdom is still uncertain as of January 2001. But at least many pet owners in Great Britain are aware of the potential problems with vaccinations.

Since the deaths of her much-loved pets, Oliver and Prudence, O’Driscoll no longer has her pets vaccinated. Instead, she has yearly titer tests performed to determine a dog’s level of immunity. She is also a strong proponent of using nosodes instead of vaccinations. (Titer tests and nosodes are explained later in this chapter.)

I have witnessed first-hand the results of over-vaccination in one of my dogs. Sarge, a beautiful six-year-old German shepherd, came into my life when I met his human companion, Chuck Phair, who is caring and conscientious. Chuck made sure that Sarge had all his yearly vaccinations. Unfortunately in 1999 Sarge was diagnosed with discoid lupus, an autoimmune disease. Fortunately, the holistic veterinarian who treats Sarge has been able to keep the disease under control with a number of vitamins, minerals, supplements, and natural cortisone. There is no cure for lupus. I believe that over-vaccination played a major role in Sarge’s contracting this disease. It is difficult to realize that you may have unintentionally harmed your animal companions by giving them annual vaccinations, which are intended to protect them.

This chapter goes on to discuss New Vaccination Protocol, Vaccine Protocols for Animals with Immune Dysfunction, How to Be Sure the Vaccine Is Working, Alternatives to Vaccines, and more.



Copyright © 1998